A dishonest lawyer is the last person you want defending your legal rights. What you really need on your team is someone you can trust -- someone who will advocate for you in a way that's up front, transparent and honest.
Your attorney should be fighting for your best interests -- but if you can't trust him or her -- you might as well give up your case right now.
How to tell if you have a dishonest lawyer
Here are a few red flags that could indicate you've hired a dishonest lawyer to represent you:
- You can't communicate with your lawyer: If your lawyer is slow or unreasonable about returning your calls, this is a red flag. You might not be able to trust him or her. Also, if your lawyer is short with his or her time with you, doesn't listen to you and won't answer all your questions, it's another red flag.
- Making excuses: Lawyers might make constant excuses about why they didn't call you back. These excuses could involve mental health problems, personal issues or other untrue explanations. Sometimes these excuses are a way to cover up substance abuse. If your lawyer is making excuse after excuse and if your lawyer is not returning your calls, get a new lawyer. It's not that hard and it's a lot simpler than you might think.
- You lawyer says your case is a "slam dunk": No good lawyer can ever make any kind of guarantees about whether your case will win or lose. Every legal matter is a unique animal and there's no way to predict the ultimate outcome. A lawyer who promises you any kind of result is not an honest one.
Is your lawyer doing something untoward?
It's easy to switch to a new lawyer if you don't trust your current one -- and some would say that lawyer switching should happen a lot more often. Also, after leaving a dishonest lawyer behind, the ex-client may want to look into the potential strengths and weaknesses of holding a badly acting lawyer financially accountable for any costs or damages he or she caused.